Taking the gavel once again this January will be District 8 Councillor Dan Cortell, after he received unanimous support of his colleagues in their caucus Monday night.
The incoming Council met on Monday night for its annual caucus session to pick its officers, its seating position and its voting order for the 2016 session. Gone were many of the councillors that have served for decades and, in their place for the first time, were several new councillors who will take a place at the table next year.
Cortell was chosen as the president in a vote of 9-0. Missing from that vote was Councillor Giovanni Recupero, who has been tending to a family issue for a few weeks, and Councillor-elect Luis Tejada, who came in just after the vote.
Council President Leo Robinson – the dean of the Council – ran the meeting and kicked off the proceedings.
Councillor Paul Murphy nominated Cortell, and Councillor-elect Damali Vidot seconded that motion.
Then, Councillor-elect Yamir Rodriguez nominated Councillor-elect Roy Avellaneda for president.
Avellaneda, who has been running for the position over the last month, had apparently failed to secure the necessary votes and withdrew.
“I appreciate it, but I will withdraw,” he said.
He then threw his support behind Cortell, who was elected unanimously.
“I am honored to have been chosen to lead Council’s next session by both councillors I have worked with over the years and some who I’ve only recently gotten to know,” said Cortell. “From the many conversations that have taken place since, and even before elections were over, I’m most confident that all councillors put their name on a ballot, campaigned and ran to play their part in making Chelsea the best it can be. I have inherent respect for anyone who takes the leap from interested resident to elected official and am confident we’ll have an active and effective Council that, despite inevitable periodic disagreement, will work collectively and with City Manger Tom Ambrosino to better the City we have a shared passion to see reach its full potential.”
Following that, Vidot was chosen as vice president of the Council – a relative rarity that one who has yet to take a seat on the Council would have secured the votes needed to be second in the leadership chain.
“I’m excited to serve and am looking forward to working together with everyone to move Chelsea forward on a City Council that hears the needs of everybody,” she said.
She was chosen by a vote of 10-0, with Recupero absent.
Tapped to be the School Committee delegate was Councillor-elect Yamir Rodriguez of District 7.
Avellaneda returned the favor and nominated Rodriguez, which was seconded by Cortell.
The vote was a unanimous 10-0 with Recupero absent.
In other more mundane matters, the Council (using the same envelopes they’ve
used since receivership, a nod to frugality) chose closed envelopes that contained numbers and determined where they would sit in the coming year.
Avellaneda chose number 1, meaning he will be on the far left, while Councillor Matt Frank chose number 10, which means he’ll be on the far right. In between, left to right, will be Paul Murphy, Enio Lopez, Recupero, Tejada, Vidot, Robinson, Judith Garcia, and Rodriguez. Cortell will be seated at the rostrum as the new president.
An official vote for officers will take place on inauguration night, Jan. 4, but the vote of the caucus most often stands